• Published 10th May 2016
  • 1,235 Views, 78 Comments

Reincarnation or Immortality - Chinchillax



As Pinkie Pie lies on her deathbed, Accord makes plans for her and all of Equestria to become immortal. But the true creators of Equestria have a different say on the matter.

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Everyone

Fluttershy knocked on the door to the mortuary, hesitating in the morning sunshine. She waited for several moments, recasting her soul checking spell to ensure that the stallion was inside.

She nearly jumped in shock when a well dressed, serious stallion opened the door, his cutie mark a lily with a calm face.

“Hello,” said the stallion, his voice like cold ice that refused to melt under any circumstance because melting would be considered impolite.

“Hello,” squeaked Fluttershy, her teeth clicking as if she was cold. This was an upstanding stallion, quiet, good at his job, kind at his core. She took a small breath before unfurling her wing and holding out a book to him.

He took a sideways glance at the bright, golden book, the color reflecting to the ceiling. “There are no services planned soon,” he said, his voice straight.

“I know,” said Fluttershy. “I wanted to talk with you about that.”

He blinked. “Do you have a service you would like planned?”

“No, not anything like that,” Fluttershy blushed. “I wanted to discuss with you some changes happening to your job.”

The mortician’s eyes narrowed, “Are you with the Equestrian government?”

“Not exactly,” said Fluttershy, her hair almost covering one side of her face. “May I sit down and discuss a few things with you? I’m willing to pay your consultation fee.”

The stallion peered at her before letting her inside, leading her past the various flowers in vases in the foyer and to a small office. Several family portraits lined the inside, along with plenty of cabinets full of records.

He sat down in a large chair and gestured for her to sit on a long mahogany bench.

“Autumn Evening, how might I be of assistance?” he asked.

“The name’s Fluttershy, and I am actually here to assist you. There was a spell cast recently that will have rather massive repercussions to your current method of employment.”

The straight-faced stallion gave a small chuckle at that, “There’s not really much you can change about death. That’s the saying, ‘death and taxes,’ isn’t it?”

She peered down to the right looking at nothing in particular, avoiding his gaze.

“I can’t believe it. Celestia and Luna are doing away with taxes?” said the stallion, his icy tone warming up at the idea

“Oh no, that would never happen,” said Fluttershy. “We’re actually doing away with death.”

Autumn Evening stared at her, a twinge of a smile almost about to crack his lips before he started chuckling awkwardly. After a few seconds he noticed how she was still avoiding his gaze.

“You can’t be serious,” he said, his tone reverting back to business.

“The immortality spell was cast yesterday,” said Fluttershy. “So I am afraid you are going to be out of a job, and possibly a cutie mark for a while.”

He bristled in shock, “My cutie mark!? You would rob me of my mark? What kind of sick joke is this?”

“It’s not a joke,” said Fluttershy. “We’re trying something different for Equestria, making everyone immortal. And I would like to help you in this transition process by helping you find something else you love doing.”

The stallion’s face scrunched into a puzzled expression, the idea not making sense in his mind.

“You have done such a good job for so many ponies, Autumn Evening. This is the end of something that I know you hold dear. I know how long it took you to get your cutie mark, I know how sad it was for you to bury your pet dog when it was his time, and how nice it felt to get your mark in the end. I know how much appreciation and satisfaction every aspect of your destiny gave you. But we won’t really need those skills anymore.”

“You’re lying,” said the stallion.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” said Fluttershy, avoiding his gaze. “In the meantime, I have a book for you to read.”

She brought back the golden book and laid it on the table, pushing it closer to him with a hoof, “This book is a pretty comprehensive story of your life. Parts of it look like it could be lifted from your personal journal, had you written one. It even has a rather detailed explanation of some possible new cutie marks and destinies you could have if you chose to change.”

He reached out and grabbed the book, flipping through the pages quickly, reading a few stray lines. “How did you get this book!?” he asked, his voice like sharp icicles.

“That’s all in there as well. Equestria isn’t exactly under new management, but it does have a lot more ponies involved in the well being and eternal experiment it is now experiencing.”

He stared at her, dumbfounded.

“There’s also a party this Saturday, and I hope you’ll come,” added Fluttershy, placing a pink envelope on the desk.

He tilted his head, peering down at the gaudy pink invitation, his eyes drawn to one facet that made him wonder out loud.

“The whole planet is invited?”

“Yup!” said Fluttershy. “It’s gonna be fun. And we’ll have something for everypony there.”

He opened his mouth, attempting to utter a protest, but nothing came out.

“We’ll be here to help if you need anything,” said Fluttershy. “Instructions on how to contact us are in the book.”

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Accord trotted up to the steps of the palace, bidding the guards a good morning as they let him inside. He passed the beautiful entryway, glancing at the intricate crystal with its fractal patterns as he made his way up the stairs and to Twilight’s personal study.

He knocked eight times, moving his hooves in just the right way to make the door jingle the tune of “Winter Wrap Up.” The last note echoed for a few moments before the sound stopped as the door was enveloped in a magenta glow.

“Hello Twilight,” smiled Accord. “How are you on this fine morning?”

The old mare stared at him, the bags under her eyes drooping far more than usual. She gave him a frightened stare.

“Twilight, are you okay?” he asked. “Did you sleep well enough last night?”

Her eyes drifted to the ground. “No,” she whispered.

Accord tried to grab her hoof, “Let’s sit down and talk this out, you must be worried about everything happening.”

She didn’t take his hoof, walking slowly to her balcony and gazing out at Ponyville. “What’s the endgame, Accord?”

He followed her, the view made it easy to see the hustle and bustle of Ponyville, the activity of the city waking up like a flower blossoming open to share her petals. “There is no endgame, Twilight, for there is neither an end nor is this a game.”

“There is no end to infinity,” she sighed, her eyes half closed.

Accord felt himself grow uneasy, the sentence too familiar.

“I can’t understand how long that is,” said Twilight, the bags under her eyes weighing nothing in comparison to how heavy her thoughts were.

“It is simply ‘now’ Twilight, there’s no need to try to understand where things might end. Eschatology is not a field of study I recommend for anypony.”

“But what about you?” she said, her old bones creaking as she turned her head to face him. “Are you supposed to be the example of what happens when you have to count your age in exponents?”

He said nothing as she stared down at the crystal floor, avoiding his gaze, “Will I someday grow so bored that I will finish a library like yours?”

“Is that what you are afraid of?” asked Accord, several self help books he had read in the library springing to mind.

“I’m afraid of that library,” she said, head hanging, her graying mane falling limp next to her shoulders. “I’m afraid I will run out of things to learn to the point that I will willingly visit your library for new ideas. I’m afraid of living so long that the time I preciously kept will be worthless, that I will squander millions of years on frivolous pursuits that in the end never mattered anyway. I’m afraid of infinity itself,” she lifted her head and her ancient amethyst eyes made contact with his, malice appearing. “I’m afraid of becoming something like you.”

All of the books Accord had thought to share stopped glowing, every single one not helpful. “Am... am I really that scary?”

“Of course you are!” Twilight nearly shouted. “You have too much power! You make decisions that I don’t understand to fulfill selfish goals! You make compromises that affect everyone on this planet! Did you even ask them first?”

“I—” said Accord, eyes drooping. “I asked Pinkie Pie.”

“Just her?”

“And a few others that are in charge of this planet,” said Accord.

“But not the innocent bystanders caught up in this?” asked Twilight, a violet flame in her eyes.

“They can... choose to die, if they want to,” said Accord, shoulders sagging at the very thought. “I would do everything in my power to convince them otherwise, but in the end I wouldn’t stop them.”

“In the end? Coming from somepony who doesn’t believe in endings?” she huffed. “How long would you prolong their decision?”

“I... I don’t know,” said Accord, his eyes shifting. “Not that long.”

“I want a number, Accord. How long?” her eyes sharpened, a flame within her erupting. “A year? Ten years? One hundred million years!?”

Accord squirmed, the question causing sharp knives to jab at his soul, “I... I don’t want to make this decision alone, and I don’t want it to be a hard and fast rule.”

“So you can torture them until they agree to be immortal? So you can alter parts of them and experiment on them until they want to live?”

His insides squirmed as he realized there was truth to her words. Hope had been doing just that for forever, and now Accord was a part of the experiment, another entry in Hope’s data set.

“No! No, please that isn’t what I want. I just want everyone to be happy!” said Accord, exasperated. “If their souls are immortal anyway, if it’s truly impossible to cease to exist, then living forever is the state they are already in!”

Twilight looked back at Accord, her mane unkempt, her old, wrinkled, mouth unmoving.

“What’s this about Twilight?” asked Accord. “You love your friends, you love life, is it so wrong for it to continue?”

She turned away from him, the words slowly escaping from the old mare. “I... I expected to die someday, Accord. Do you have any idea how relieved I felt when Celestia told me I would die, just like everypony else?”

Accord thought of saying something, but let the thoughts pass, giving Twilight time to continue.

“Life is hard, it is really, truly hard. I don’t know how I have been able to last this long, keeping up with all my duties and responsibilities, but I can’t possibly see myself being able to sustain all this forever.”

Accord’s mouth quivered, “What do you want, Twilight?”

“I don’t know what I want,” she sighed, a frown appearing on her face. “I just don’t want to end up like you.”

Accord almost smiled, “You don’t need to worry about that Twilight. You are you, and nothing will ever change that.”

“But that’s just it! I can’t handle being me for too much longer. I expected to die of old age in the next few years. I wouldn’t say I’ve been looking forward to it, but there’s something comforting about how everything has a distinct beginning and an end.”

“What did you expect to have happen after the end?” asked Accord.

“I don’t know, nothing!” she scrunched up her face. “Some kind of wonderful indescribable paradise?”

“Oh, you want some kind of heaven?” Accord asked. “As long as we’re allowed to visit every so often, I can set you up with whatever it is you were expecting.”

He brought out a notepad and a quill, ready to write, “What would you like in your heaven?”

She stared at him, the flames in her eyes sparking again. “What are you going to do, make a list?”

“If that would make you happy, then yes,” said Accord.

She stayed silent for a moment, pondering the idea. “No, I have no idea what’s in heaven. Supreme happiness in paradise is indescribable. You’re a creature of only words, Accord. You will never find a description of heaven that would adequately convey how good it’s supposed to be.”

Accord stared at the empty pad of paper in front of him, “You’re not giving me much to go on, Twilight. What do you want?”

“Nothing,” said Twilight. “I don’t want anything.”

“But you are upset for a lot different reasons, there has to be something I can help with.”

“No, there isn’t,” said Twilight. “You’ve caused enough damage already by making everypony immortal.”

Several books of advice pelted his head, none of them seeming like good things to say at the moment. He picked one anyway. “Twilight, I’ve found that when I focus on myself for too long, I end up in dark places. But when I instead focus on helping those around me, I find I can help them, even though I can’t seem to help myself.

“It’s another reason why I want to become friends with more ponies. Immortality by myself was awful, but when I stopped thinking about myself and focused on others and how they were feeling, I ended up making myself feel better in the process.”

“Accord?” she asked.

“Yes, Twilight?”

“Please leave.”

He frowned, but obeyed, letting his eyes close and teleporting immediately out of the room. A book with an amethyst cover and a pink party invitation appeared on Twilight’s desk.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Galaxia stared at the book, gazing at the emerald cover, opening it and casting a spell to read it as fast as possible, standing at the doorway to the apartment.

The exquisite detail it captured to every facet of Slipstream’s life was almost dull in comparison to how wonderful the book’s true owner was, the words unable to do the hippogriff justice.

She knocked on the door to his apartment, knowing he would be home, the letters above the doorway crooked and fading.

There was a sound of scuffling from inside as the door turned and a middle aged, tired looking hippogriff answered, his beak streaked with blue, fatigued, droll eyes taking in the sight of the regal alicorn.

Her entire train left the hallway with a bright, warm glow, a spectacle meant only for him as she was keeping invisible to only one soul at a time.

He yawned and shut the door. “Friggin’ salesponies,” she heard him mutter.

Queen Galaxia, unaccustomed to being ignored except when she willed it, stared at the door in shock. Her love and appreciation for the hippogriff almost evaporated by the rude gesture.

She knocked more forcefully onto the door.

“Not interested,” said Slipstream through the door.

“You’re immortal now!” said Galaxia through the door. “I thought you might like to have a long conversation about that.”

Silence, with a hint of curiosity, seeped from the door

“Nope.”

“Please! Life’s been hard to you Slipstream. I don’t want to imagine you spending one more year like you have, much less another million years.”

The sturdy, weathered door opened by a crack.

“How do you know so much about me?”

“I know everything about everybody,” said Galaxia.

“Celestia?” asked the hippogriff, only then stopping to consider who he had been talking to.

“No, her mother,” said Galaxia.

The hippogriff opened the door wider, the majesty of the alicorn reflecting in his wide eyes. He could only stand there, dumbfounded.

“Would you like some food, Slipstream?” asked Galaxia, bringing out a small sack of various vegetables, many of them unrecognizable.

He stood there thinking about what to do with some kind of space pony princess outside his door before deciding that nothing was always the preferred option. He started to close the door.

“At least let me tell you a few things,” said Galaxia, holding the door open. “Everyone is immortal, and that includes animals so for the griffons who are still carnivorous, we’re growing substitute plants for any meat you may need. And here’s a book you practically wrote, and there’s a party on Saturday and we’d love it if you’d come.”

She threw in the sack of food, the book and the invitation before he closed the door, the sound of it giving a slight echo in the hallway.

She stared at it, saddened that she couldn’t have helped more, reevaluating her decision to have a more hooves on approach to souls. She seemed to do an excellent job on a macro scale, making entire planets come to life, but individuals brought on complications and difficulties. Was it even worth it?

She pulled out the next book, looking at Slipstream’s next door neighbor, using the book to review the life that lived there.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Accord teleported to outside of Sweet Apple Acres, the hard road softened to the soil of the orchard as he stepped off of the path and looked for Applejack. He knew where to find her.

He spotted her as she put a full basket of apples onto a cart, grabbing in her teeth the next set of baskets to fill with apples.

He trotted over to her, and gave a friendly wave, “Hey Applejack!”

She gave him a quick glance and continued back to her chores.

“We didn’t get a chance to talk after I told everyone. How are you doing?”

“Just fine,” said Applejack, kicking a tree and causing some apples to land in her baskets, still able to buck apples despite her age.

“I just thought I’d stop by and ask if you are okay with the immortality spell. Do you have any questions, or requests?”

The mare continued working in silence, placing a basket underneath a tree, the sunlight glinting through the leaves adding a green light to her grayed orange coat.

“Is there anything I can do to help you get used to all of this?”

The mare gave a swift kick to the apple tree. A torrent of apples rained down precisely into the baskets.

“You’ve already mastered apple related earth pony magic. Would you like a new cutiemark? You are going to be alive for a while. You may reach that eventuality at some point,” Accord said, standing back as Applejack lifted another basket of apples into the cart.

Accord stayed silent for several moments, watching Applejack work, her rhythm orchestrating a steadfast melody. He looked at a tall stack of still empty baskets and picked a few up in his mouth. He laid a few baskets underneath the apple trees she would go for next, picking the right spots for where the apples would most likely fall down. They worked together in silence, Accord putting more apple baskets beneath the trees and Applejack kicking more apples inside, her earth pony magic ensured each apple would always land in a basket.

A half hour later, Applejack spoke up. “What do you want, Accord?”

He tried to say something, but the handle of the basket in his mouth prevented him. He looked sheepish as he sprouted a horn and held the basket aloft in his magic. “I want to make sure that you are happy. I made a big decision for all of Equestria that’s bound to upset ponies. I want to make sure that you are okay with the arrangement.”

“And if I ain’t?” Applejack asked, her question punctuated with a swift blow to the nearest apple tree, which surrendered its fruit to gravity.

“Then I will do everything I can to help you or change your mind.”

“Why?”

“I like every creature on this planet, Applejack. I would grieve a thousand years and beyond if I lost a single one.”

“And what does it mean for a pony to be ‘lost?’”

“There are two great choices, Applejack, continue or start over, immortality or reincarnation. I would prefer if everyone would always choose to continue. I can continue those friendships, I can continue to see them, I can continue to care about them and I would never have to say goodbye.”

“Sounds like a good thing to do, Accord. Good luck with that,” the mare said, picking up the last basket in her mouth and putting it on the cart.

“You—you don’t need anything?” asked Accord. The questioned lingered in the air as Applejack harnessed herself to the cart.

“The way you’re acting, Accord, you seem to think that I want somethin’. Spit it out, what do you think I want?”

Accord went silent for a moment, Applejack stopping her preparations and staring at him.

“You have the capability of requesting a wish I cannot grant. You have a good desire in you and I have spent a long time thinking over and trying to find a good solution to this problem, but not even my library has a satisfactory answer for your situation.”

“What could I possibly ask for that you can’t do?” Applejack asked.

“Your parents, Applejack. I can’t think of a way to get them back.”

“They’re dead. I came to terms with that a long time ago.”

“Not exactly, their souls are immortal, but those souls are currently incarnated into new families. I’m locking the reincarnation process for this world and that means that your parent’s souls are going to continue in their current states, never able to fulfill that role for you ever again.”

Applejack pulled her hat down, obscuring her eyes from Accord’s gaze.

“I'm sorry I can’t get them back, Applejack. But rest assured, starting from you and your husband, your family will continue from this point on, forever. And so will your friends. You never have to say goodbye to anypony else. I hope that’s a good enough state that you will be happy.”

The rustling leaves left holes of sunlight poking through to the grass below.

“Why did you tell me that?” Applejack asked.

“I want you to know my limits, Applejack. There are a few ponies I can resurrect. I’m going to be giving widowers back their wives, widows back their husbands, and most orphans back their parents. I want you to know that I would love to resurrect your parents too... but that it’s just not possible. I wouldn’t rob a griffon family of their father, or a dragon clan of their matriarch. I’ve reviewed the scales and the amount of happiness and grief over the situation and I’ve decided that who is currently alive is of greater importance than reviving the dead.

“I’m sorry,” Accord leaned his head down. “Guilt is the greatest enemy to immortality, Applejack, and I fear I will feel it if I am unable to provide you with your own personal happiest continue. I hope that you will forgive me.”

Applejack pushed up her hat a tiny bit higher, giving Accord a view into the old mare’s watery eyes. “My pa is a griffon?”

“He doesn’t remember being your father, but he’s a fine griffon with a family as big as the one you’ve created. He’s still as hard-working as every memory you have of him is.”

“And ma is a dragon?”

“One of the best, despite her young age, she is a great leader in her clan, always supporting every dragon in her homeland.”

She pulled the hat over eyes again, a small tear escaping from beneath.

“It wouldn’t be honest to take them away from their current lives for me,” Applejack said.

“Is there anything I can do for you? Your imagination is the limit.”

She stayed silent for a while, the only sound the rustling of leaves in the wind. “Time. Just time.”

Accord let a small smile slip from his lips. “Time, Applejack? I’ll give you forever.”

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Fluttershy felt relieved by the large appearance of the sewing shop in front of her, the main branch and first ever franchise of “Carousel Boutique.” It was almost unrecognizable compared to the tiny store it used to be. She walked inside past the glass doors, a chime from the bell in the front alerting everypony of her arrival.

The receptionist at the front bid her welcome as Fluttershy sat down on one of the chairs.

She pulled an old magazine in front of her in her magic and floated it up in front of her eyes to start reading it. She was distracted, however, by the look of shock from the earth pony receptionist at the display of magic.

She put out her forelegs in front of herself and dropped the magazine into her hooves, and hid her horn. It felt somehow odd to feel the crisp, glossy pages. The text jumped out at her in odd ranges, the font sizes changing seemingly on every page. The sheer amount of fonts and typefaces were heavenly compared to the uniformity of the books in the library. The pictures and beautiful photographs were pristine and exciting to look at. It was ordinary beauty but Fluttershy couldn’t help but feel appreciative for every tiny detail in the magazine. She remembered the process that it took to make this, remembering the various choices that Sans Serif had decided, the photographs that Simple Shutter had taken, the editorials by Rose Star, every single pony that had had a hoof in producing the tiny magazine before her, a testament to their work and character.

“Darling, that gardening magazine is eight months old, and you’re looking at it like you are about to eat it,” said Rarity, appearing in front of her.

Fluttershy put the magazine down and stared at her, “Oh... I’m sorry.”

“No need to apologize dear,” said Rarity sitting down next to her.

“Oh, sorry,” said Fluttershy, realizing what she had just done and scrunching her face.

“How are you feeling?” asked Rarity.

“Like I need a spa day,” said Fluttershy, looking at the textured floor, remembering the zebra that had stitched it, Zerum was her name. One of her foals had left home the day she stitched that particular square pattern.

Rarity shot a look to her receptionist, “Can you have Silver Shoal cover my one o’clock?”

“He’s still trying to finish that suit in time for the three fifteen.”

“Oh, hmm...” Rarity put a hoof to her muzzle, “And Summer Holly is still working on that piece for the winter collection that has to be done by tomorrow...”

Fluttershy put a hoof up to her, “It’s okay Rarity, we’ll just use the Library.”

Rarity looked at her confused, but followed her to a back storeroom of Carousel Boutique. As soon as Fluttershy closed the door, she opened it again, leading Rarity out into the main foyer.

“By the way, are you okay with the immortality spell? No lasting fears or immediate philosophical inquiries keeping you up at night?” asked Fluttershy.

“Well, I’m not sure where this is going exactly, but it’s a fabulous idea and I’ll see where it takes us,” said Rarity.

“Good! Glad you like it!” said Fluttershy, relief on her face.

Rarity turned to the reception desk they were walking past. “Huh? Where’s Carob?” asked Rarity, realizing that her seat was empty.

“We’re in the library version of Equestria now,” said Fluttershy walking back toward the front foyer’s luxurious couches and sitting back down, eyeing a copy of the magazine she had put down a few moments before.

“Library version?” asked Rarity.

“That’s mostly what I feel like talking about, all of this time manipulation has gotten to me and Accord's head.”

Rarity looked at her, puzzled, but sat down on the couch next to her.

“Darling, what are you talking about?” asked Rarity, her tone shaking a little.

“We need to invite everypony to this party, and preferably talk with them... and make sure they got the news that their immortal now... resurrect anypony they need so they don’t have any desire to pass on, y’know that sort of thing.”

Rarity avoided her desire to say: No, I don’t know that sort of thing, and simply nodded her head in agreement.

“But this is kind of time consuming, we spend a lot of time focusing on everyone, and I may spend a few minutes on each soul, but Accord will spend days in his library agonizing over which book to give them. He’s trying to judge ‘which variation and word choice in each book would best help them right now.’ He’s been down there for months, and I’ve been gone for weeks helping him. But if it wasn’t for me, I think he’d spend millions of years trying to pick just the right book for each pony.”

“You’re giving books to ponies?” asked Rarity.

“Yeah, they’re really neat actually. Hold on, let me get yours,” Fluttershy reached a hoof out in mid-air and reached for something that wasn’t there. “Oh it looks like Accord hasn’t chosen one for you. Give me a moment.”

“Accord, do you have Rarity’s book picked out yet?” asked Fluttershy to no one in particular.

To Rarity’s amazement, Accord appeared moments later holding twenty royal purple books in a haze of gray magic.

“I’m still in the middle of that right now,” said Accord, letting several of the books land on the coffee table above the magazines and leaving one to stay in the air as he continued to flip through pages in it.

“These books are all about me?” asked Rarity, curiosity itching her voice.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to pick the one that most represents you and will help you the most, but picking the most optimal one is always tricky,” said Accord.

“Accord, how long have you spent on just Rarity’s book alone?” asked Fluttershy.

He looked at ground, a sheepish expression crossing his muzzle, “a couple of days...”

“See, and this is the problem, Rarity, he’s immortal and so he doesn’t treat his time as valuable as he should. Spending this much time alone isn’t good for you, Accord,” said Fluttershy.

“But this is important! These books are my great explanation, a miracle of chaos that a book could so exquisitely represent one’s life in such a majestic way. Forgive me if I have trouble picking out one that fully exemplifies the brilliant souls that happen to inhabit Equestria.”

“But for this long? I don’t want you to get lonely or anything,” said Fluttershy.

He set the book down before picking up another one. “I’m not lonely, I’m envisioning myself with the pony in question, imagining the right book that would help them in just the right way. Besides, it’s not like I’m writing the things, I’m picking out books that just so happen to exist.”

Rarity grabbed a book in front of her at random, reading an entry to some diary from an alternate universe, her face turning red.

“Wha- what? How are you? How do you know these books are mine!?” asked Rarity, embarrassed.

Accord and Fluttershy looked at each other, both of them scrunching their muzzles.

“You tell her,” said Accord.

“No, it was your idea,” said Fluttershy.

“No, it was Cosmos’s, and I asked you if it felt like the right thing to do,” said Accord.

“That doesn’t mean I have to be the one to break that particular news.”

“But, she’s your best friend, you can tell her.”

“That makes the whole thing that much worse,” said Fluttershy.

“Whatever it was, it’s done, and there’s no getting around it.”

Rarity followed their conversation like a badminton match, the volleys and conversation dancing around a subject that the participants clearly had mixed feelings on.

“No,” said Accord. “The book can tell her! That’ll work! When she reads the book she’ll get all the details, and we won’t have to tell her directly.”

Rarity coughed, “I’m sitting right here.”

“Oh... right,” said Accord staring at her.

“Oh, fine, I’ll tell her,” said Fluttershy, turning toward Rarity. “We cast a spell so that we have everypony’s memories.”

Rarity sat on the couch, her lips starting to purse; one of her eyebrows started a slow march higher, nearly touching her horn.

“You look like you need some tea,” said Accord, the books and magazines on the table parting and a teapot and cups appearing before them. Rarity’s favorite brew appeared with two cubes of sugar already in the teacup closest to her.

She stared at the tea, and then back to the books, and then back to Accord and Fluttershy.

“Well that’s...” she floated the teacup to her, sipping on it a little, tasting the familiar almond cream brew, “interesting.”

“Oh good, glad we got that out of the way,” said Fluttershy. “So, you see that reviewing all these memories we have is kind of time consuming and well... so is meeting everyone, and everything. It’s a little exhausting.”

“I see,” said Rarity, sipping her tea, even though she didn’t really feel like she could “see” anything.

“But,” started Accord, “While this beginning process is time consuming, it will be worth it if there’s a possible infinite amount of time we could have with each of them.”

Rarity nodded her head, almost ready to get back to Carousel Boutique, except she was already in Carousel Boutique.

“That sounds...” she continued to nod her head slowly, “like you have a lot of work cut out for you.”

“Exactly!” said Accord. “Thanks Rarity, you’ll have your book soon.”

He vanished, all of the deep purple books also disappearing, leaving a mess of magazines and the spot of tea behind.

“So... yes, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks,” said Fluttershy, picking up the tea closest to her with her hooves. “Or yesterday, from your perspective.”

Rarity took a few more sips of tea, sitting in silence for several moments while Fluttershy sipped hers.

“I have so many questions,” Rarity said. “But I’m not entirely sure I want any answers.”

“You probably don’t,” said Fluttershy.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Accord stood over the grave, holding the orange soul in his magic, analyzing how to go about the process.

The minotaur had been embalmed and buried quite efficiently, he wouldn’t need to start from scratch unlike working with those that had been cremated. It was a simple matter of making everything start working again.

He cast an initial healing spell on the minotaur, fixing arteries, mending capillaries. He cast another spell on the marrow in the bones, forcing them to come alive and manufacture an entire new supply of blood, instructing all of the blood cells in their proper duties.

He looked at the memory cover, matching memory for memory every single part of the minotaur’s brain, making every single neuron that was still there fire, filling in every gap and any missing information.

He had to do a complete reconstruction on the lungs, the cells forming and multiplying and intertwining into a mesh that would support the air. He cast more spells on other organs, forcing each of them to start functioning again.

He looked at the orange soul in front of him, flashes of red and blue appearing beneath the surface, smiling as he placed it beneath the ground and in between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

He started making the heart start beating again, causing the blood to pump in the reconstructed veins and arteries, the lungs starting to accept air, muscles accepting the fresh blood and oxygen happily, the abdominal muscles and biceps starting to return to their strength during life.

He made several more sweeps working on the insides, ensuring it was all working again. When everything was in order, with all the care and precision that Rarity would have given the occasion, he worked on the minotaur’s skin and fur, the abdominal muscles and biceps getting extra strength, every single cut, bruise, and scar smoothed over and healed as if they had never been there.

In the middle of the fourth pass through, the minotaur opened his eyes, staring at the black darkness of the coffin.

With a smile, Accord momentarily gave the minotaur the strength of thousands.

Like a bomb exploding underground, the minotaur punched through the coffin and a meter and half of hard earth, the pebbles and the stones showering the graveyard, several of the plots already empty.

“RAAAAAAWR!” roared the minotaur, his fist punching through to the warm surface, his hands coming out and ripping a hole in the earth, launching himself into the air. “FIND YOURSELF DEAD? BE ALIVE INSTEAD!”

“Welcome back, Iron Will,” Accord said calmly, smiling at his own handiwork.

Iron Will sneered at the gray alicorn, “And who are you?”

“My name’s Accord, I hope to become your friend, Iron Will.”

Iron Will stared back at him and then around the graveyard, letting his senses come back and sniffing at the air.

“Your wife missed you dearly this last decade, she couldn’t imagine the idea of immortality without you,” Accord said. “Let’s not keep her waiting.”

The minotaur smiled, “Iron Will would like that.”

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

“Is that really the resurrection method you’ve been using the entire time?” Galaxia asked, watching Accord cast a slew of spells on a dead jenny, the donkey being recreated step by step with a well rehearsed rhythm.

“It’s worked well so far,” said Accord, continuing his spells, excited to give several young donkey foals their parents back.

“There’s much faster ways to go about bringing them back,” said Galaxia, staring at Accord, her magic wielding a mass of hydrogen.

Accord watched in fascination as the cloud of hydrogen touched the soul, reforming into oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous and other elements as needed, using the DNA stored in the memory cover to completely replicate the jack in every single way, bringing him in the exact state he was before death.

Accord watched as the donkey almost opened his eyes before Galaxia kept the soul and body in stasis, the entire process taking less than three seconds.

Accord’s eyes went wide, “Can you teach me that spell?”

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Silent Shiver stared at her story, her head tilted by the words, remembering the instructions at the beginning of the book.

“Accord?” she whispered to the air, not expecting anything.

“Yes?” asked Accord, appearing immediately next to the dark blue unicorn.

She nearly toppled out of her chair in surprise, placing hooves on her desk to balance herself, neatly stacked papers getting disheveled.

“Sorry about that,” said Accord. “Would you like me to knock next time?”

She nodded slowly.

He breathed in before teleporting outside of the room, knocking on the door three times.

She breathed in and out for a moment, readjusted her glasses and got out of her chair to answer the door.

“Hi Silent Shiver!” he began anew, a cheerful look on his muzzle. “How have you been?”

“Fine...” said the unicorn, standing askew in the doorway.

“I just had some questions about my book,” she said, her voice returning, making her way back to her chair. “It ends with a bunch of descriptions of possible new cutie marks and destinies that could fit me. Why?”

“I’ve gotten rid of sickness,” he placed a hoof on his muzzle. “You are a mare of great skill in healing and you have been exemplary in all aspects of fulfilling your destiny up to this point, however...”

“However?”

“Nopony is going to get sick anymore, all purposes for your anesthesia cutie mark have been completed.”

She readjusted her glasses, the meaning hitting her like a ton of bricks. “So... I don’t have a destiny anymore?” she asked.

“You have one,” Accord reassured her. “It’s just not represented on your flank like it used to be. You’ll have to seek out something else you love doing.”

“But, this is what I love doing...” said Silent Shiver.

Accord sat on the floor, “What would you like me to do for you?”

“You could make a few ponies sick so I could help them.” Even as she said the words, they felt hollow and she immediately regretted saying them aloud.

“I don’t think that’s a very good solution for the ponies who would end up being sick. I’m sure if I find a pony who wants to be I could send him or her your way though. But I can’t think of any at the top of my head.”

Her eyes drooped, “So what should I do?”

“Whatever you would like!” said Accord. “It’s a big planet with lots of things to do and experience. There are many suggestions in the book for new destinies that might fit you.”

“Would I get a new cutie mark?”

“If you would like one, yes. I’ve already changed my own once this week.”

“This week?” asked Silent Shiver.

Accord looked at the ray on his flank, “Destinies change, Silent, ponies change, it’s the only thing constant in this multiverse. As long as we’re always improving on what we were before, we can make our lives, and those around us better.”

She sat silent, returning to the book, her eyes flashing over the words.

“You sound like my book,” she said finally.

“I picked it out, sorry for the bias,” he rubbed a hoof against his mane. “It should mostly feel like you wrote it.”

“Mostly,” she said, continuing to read the book.

He lingered with her, waiting for a while longer for more questions, when she didn’t ask anymore he teleported silently away.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Logos said the name aloud, “Accord.”

A stallion alicorn appeared in front of him, flapping his wings next to Logos’s eyes. The gray magic illuminated the vast cavern filled with the immense hoard of books, statues, trinkets, and mountains of jewels that filled the entire subterranean complex.

“You will prove to me that you are not a tyrant, by erasing all memories you have of me,” said Logos, his old voice deep and rumbling.

Accord’s flaps slowed down, “What?” he asked.

“You have all the makings of a tyrant, Accord. The fact that you know me enough to have this book about me,” Logos said, the red book in front of him comfortably large in his claws, “while no one has seen me for over 1,200 years is quite a feat. And the fact that I’m now immortal is quite a gift. But I have no intention of ever leaving this cave. Now erase your memories of my existence.”

“Hold on a moment, Logos. That book is an invitation to recognize that you need other creatures in your life. You can’t do immortality on your own.”

“I have been doing so for twelve hundred years, and I will not stop anytime soon.”

“Do you intend to spend all ten million years here?” asked Accord. “Eternity is long time to spend by yourself.”

“I like being alone,” said Logos, his old voice emanating throughout the cavern.

“I did too,” said Accord, landing on the top of a mound of jewels near him. “We have a lot in common. We like to read the same books over and over again. We’ve spent a large proportion of our lives secluded. And we have a general distrust of everything, most of all ourselves. I would like nothing more than the honor of becoming your friend.”

“No,” said the dragon.

“You are one of the most interesting souls on this planet, Logos, you have experienced stories that have become lost to legend, cast draconic magic that hasn’t been seen in centuries, and you share opinions about others that I held onto for trillions of years, before I finally let a good friend show me otherwise.”

The dragon narrowed his eyes, “I’m never leaving this cave, Accord. And I don’t want anyone to know I exist.”

“What about me, Logos? Can’t I please be your friend? I’ve read all of these books you hold dear,” said Accord picking up an ancient green book.

“Ponies are not allowed to touch my things!” said Logos, anger in his eyes.

Accord put the book back, transforming into a dark gray dragon near him, continuing as if nothing had happened. “My favorite character in ‘The Phoenix Chronicles’ was definitely Commander Emerald, I found his speeches on the nature of what it means to be a dragon to be quite an eye opening experience.”

“You mock my favorite things!” growled Logos.

“No,” said Accord, flinching and trying to read the dragon’s desires. “That’s not what I wanted to do. I merely wanted to have a nice conversation about a mutual love for a favorite book, like friends.”

“I don’t want friends, and the longer you are here, the more angry I become,” seethed Logos. “Now leave, erase your memories that I exist, and never come back.”

Accord racked his mind searching for a way to be his friend, hovering in the air in concentration.

He spent months in the library searching for a solution.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

He woke up slowly, sprawled on an old familiar couch. He blinked his eyes, regaining consciousness and letting the familiar cottage setting comfort him. He shut his eyes tight for a moment before finally agreeing to open them again. He sat up, a paper on his chest fluttering to ground before his eyes wandered over to it.


Quick Census:

Total Souls in Equestria: 1,000,000,002

Souls currently living: 393,368,861

Souls died in the last fifty years still in storage: 90,384,876

Souls currently wandering Equestria: 516,222,822

Souls with access to a personalized Heaven: 23,423

Souls in “Hell”: 19

Souls which desired to be forgotten: 1


A chill ran down his spine as he read the new category.

He gulped, becoming distinctly aware in that moment that he had not remembered how exactly he had come to be on that couch with the census.

He stared at the paper and started to shake, his eyes starting to water as his breathing began to quicken. “F-Fluttershy?” he whispered to the air.

In an instant, she was at his side, sitting on the couch next to him.

He sat there, trembling, as Fluttershy brought herself closer, her hoof going over his shoulder, “What’s wrong?”

He stared at the paper in shock before responding, “I... I forgot something.”

She read the census over, looking at the new category and back into his gray eyes.

“I just died... a little,” he said, fear dripping in his voice. “I promised myself I would never choose to die. But I did... a little.”

“It’s okay,” she said, nuzzling him. “You’re not dead, you’re still very much alive.”

“But losing all memories? That’s death! I’ve lost a part of my memories. I’ve crossed a line I never ever ever wanted to get even remotely close to,” he said, his breathing slowing as he spoke the words. “How can I trust myself now?”

She held him tightly and breathed deeply, “Who do you think you’re missing?”

“I... I don’t know. I remember the last few dragons I gave books to.”

“Where in the dragon lands?”

He hesitated, before saying the names, “Pathos... Cobalt... Mercury.”

The lifetimes of those dragons flashed before her eyes, remembering the location, “You don’t remember any other dragons near there?”

“No...” said Accord.

“If you were to pick another dragon to visit after those three, who would you visit next?”

He sniffed before saying, “Jasper.”

He had skipped over the home of a rather reclusive dragon. “You wouldn’t visit—?” she had started to ask before cutting herself off.

“I wouldn’t visit who?” he pleaded.

She looked back at the paper and sighed. “I think you made the right decision Accord.”

“The right decision!?” he said, outraged. “I lost some of my memories! I’ve broken trust with myself I have spent eons trying to cultivate. If I can’t trust myself, who can I trust?”

Her eyes rested onto his, “You can trust me.”

His eyes stopped watering as he stared at her.

“I think I remember the soul that wanted to be forgotten. It’s alright that you forgot those memories... I guess they aren’t really ours to have. They’re someone else’s. We only have them so that we can help everyone. If having them does the exact opposite, then it’s best to forget them.”

“Perhaps you’re right...” he said, bringing himself closer to her. “But I don’t know how I’ll rebuild my own trust in myself. If I made this decision now, what’s to stop me from erasing my memories for other things in the future? I’ve started down a dark path that only leads to death.”

She felt the rise and fall of his breath as she kept herself close to him. “Accord, if you ever feel the need to erase a part of your memories again, will you let me know first?”

“What!? No! I will never want to erase my memories!”

She stared at the paper, “You wrote down a new category on the census, and I’m sure there will be more souls that will want to opt-out of our blatant invasion of their privacy. They have a valid point, and this number will only climb from here, at least for a while.

“But,” she continued. “It looks like your agreement was only between you and that soul, or else you would have erased a part of my memory too. You can still trust yourself Accord, as long as you trust me as well.”

He lost himself in her teal eyes, “I trust you, Fluttershy.”

“So if something like this happens again... if you find an addition to the fear section of your library, whatever it is, and you feel the need to lose your memories, will you give those memories to me first?”

“I hope it never comes to that,” he said.

“But will you?”

“Yes.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

She smiled, “We both know you don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. So because you trust me, you can trust yourself.”

He sniffed one last time before smiling weakly, “Thanks Fluttershy.”

They sat there together on the couch, talking and comforting each other for a long time.

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Cosmos teleported up and down through the library, exploring and teleporting around, grabbing books off of the shelves and playing around, amused to be inside the structure that had eluded Hope for such a long time.

He teleported to a random spot and found himself in a black universe. But on the far ends of the universe were more shelves of books. He teleported to the center and found an exact clone of Equestria. He headed down to the surface of the fake Equestria and moved a rock.

Then he teleported to that exact same spot in the normal Equestria and found that as he had moved the rock there, it had moved here as well. He nudged the rock again, and teleported to the library version of Equestria. The rock perfectly synchronized between the two worlds. Synchronization, combined with compressed time, so that’s how he’s able to talk to everypony.

He started randomly teleporting again, but this time he found himself stuck in between completely wedged in bookcases, the hallway that should have been there had been replaced with a solid mass of books. His body naturally manipulated his form into something intangible. The newness of the feeling wore off and he teleported away using Galaxia’s location as a reference point.

He peered down the long hallway with its rainbow of books, gazing at the majesty standing in the middle of it, holding aloft a black book in her magic. Her beauty radiating as her nebulous wings billowed like soft clouds, the galaxies in the tips of her mane softly twirling. Cosmos could only smile as he watched her from afar. It didn’t matter the form she took, she always took his breath away.

He took a few slow trots toward her, awaiting her response to his hoofsteps, but she stood engrossed in the black book.

“So you got library access as well?” asked Cosmos, his question rousing Galaxia away from the story as her eyes adjusted.

“What did you say?” she asked, a little hesitant, her mind still in the book.

“I was wondering when you got library access from Accord. I only just zipped in to see you,” he looked around at all the books, “and the rest of this place, a few minutes ago.”

“I’ve been down here for a while, researching. It’s almost relaxing, really. Everything’s stopped outside without any of the disadvantages to slowing down individual atoms. I can stay here and think, even casually teleport in ponies that could use individual help. I can interact directly with them.”

“Isn’t that hard?”

“Everything is difficult in it’s own way, but it's a responsibility I’ve wanted to handle,” said Galaxia.

“I always preferred working on a macro scale myself,” said Cosmos. “Catering to the different kinds of partygoers and following along with Pinkie has been fun, but after the party I’ll head back to my universe for a while, make sure first time souls get interviewed, keep things rolling.”

“I’ll do the same,” said Galaxia. “But there’s extra time here, I like it.”

“How long is enough though?” asked Cosmos.

She stared at the books, eyeing the black one she was still holding aloft in her magic.

“I’m still figuring that out.”

He stared at her, getting lost in her hazel eyes, leaning in close to her, nuzzling her softly, “Don’t be too long, okay?”

She shifted closer to him, “okay.”

⬡ ⬡ ⬡

Accord trotted along the path, feeling the hard red rock beneath his hooves. The cool dry wind raced across the landscape, stray bits of dehydrated foliage peppering everything.

“No death?” the buffalo repeated.

“Yeah,” said Accord, keeping up with the pace of the moving buffalo.

“Why?”

“Why not?” said Accord. “Life is good, why not have it continue for as long as possible?”

The buffalo slowed, looking down at a shrub, leaning down and sniffing it. “I don’t know what to do with my current life, much less an eternal one.”

The buffalo opened his mouth and started chewing on the dry grass, munching on it slowly.

“That’s a good question,” said Accord. “But won’t it be fun to figure it out? What you might do? What kind of buffalo you might become?”

The buffalo swallowed, “If I knew where I was going, maybe. Otherwise, I’m wandering for forever as opposed to only for a little while.”

The hot sun beat down from above, warming the air, slowing the buffalo’s words.

“Would you like some ideas?” asked Accord, producing a sky blue book.

He looked at the book, the bright color in stark contrast to the desert around them. “Maybe...” said the buffalo.

“I think you’ll like it,” said Accord. “If you were to dictate your own biography and I was the scribe, I think this is the book that would result.”

He took the book in his mouth, glancing at it, depositing it in his fur.

“And there’s a party on Saturday,” said Accord, bridling his enthusiasm to match his new friend’s.

The buffalo’s movements slowed even further. “I don’t think I’ll make it.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll teleport you there myself,” said Accord, handing him a pink invitation.

He eyed the invitation, looking at the frilly letters, and grunted in affirmation.

“Thanks!” said Accord.

He kept walking with the buffalo for a little while longer, waiting to see if any questions would pop up. When none did, Accord said goodbye and teleported him back to the non-library version of Equestria.

“That was the last one,” said Fluttershy, appearing beside him.

“Everyone?” repeated Accord, stunned into silence at the completion of the task, taking comfort in how nice it was to do, hoping for more conversations with all of his new friends.

“Everyone,” smiled Fluttershy.

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